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 Gulf Shores High School Athletics Hall of Fame Induction 2019
Jacob Halpin, GSHS Class of 2003

At the Alumni Association Hall of Fame nominee voting, I was told that Jacob was the first unanimous vote for Induction into the HOF the history of the of the high school. It's heart warming that his classmates remember him with such affection. The Gulf Shores High School Athletics Hall of Fame inductions took place before kickoff at a September football game.

A copy of the Athletics Hall of Fame booklet (partial) and Jacob's plaque

 Local resident helps get Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines on Blue Angel flight

Updated Jan 14, 2019; Posted Jul 27, 2012
By AL.com and Press-Register staff
GULF SHORES, Alabama --- On June 12, Pleasure Island resident Jacob Halpin and his friend

Rowdy Gaines, NBC swimming commentator and Olympic triple gold medalist, visited the Sherman Field home of the Blue Angel Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Halpin and Gaines met years ago through the Auburn University swimming program. In January 2011, Halpin nominated Gaines for a Blue Angels backseat ride and it finally happened this past month. An NBC video/photo crew was present and Gaines asked Halpin to shadow him through the morning’s events and to be included in the media coverage. Halpin will be seen during Gaines’s Blue Angel clips used on his Summer Olympic swimming broadcast from London.

NBC swimming commentator and Olympic triple gold medalist Rowdy Gaines and Jacob Halpin in a pre-flight briefing room.

Gaines swam at Auburn from 1978-1981 and was twice the World Swimmer of the Year. At one four-year period in his career Gaines held 11 world records. He was slated to win multiple medals at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow that was boycotted by the United States. Four years later Gaines came back to win three gold medals in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games.

After his flight, Gaines said that standing on the podium receiving his gold medals did not compare with his Blue Angels ride.

Halpin attended Gulf Shores High School in Gulf Shores and is the only high school varsity athlete with Down syndrome to have earned All-State honors and was the first swimmer from the United States to hold world records through the Down Syndrome International Swimming Organization.


In 2003 Jacob was a co-captain on the Gulf Shores High School swim team and received the Alabama High School Sports Magazine's Humanitarian Award.

Gulf Shores High School was considered a small size school in Alabama, about 300 students total and having just come into existence in 1999. During Jacob's four years on the high school swim team their finishes were as follows:

  1999-2000:  Placed 16th statewide - this team consisted of only four swimmers 
  2000-2001:  Placed  7th statewide
  2001-2002:  Placed  7th statewide
  2002-2003:  Placed  9th statewide

 Down Syndrome International Swimming
The DSISO, with it's headquarters in Berkshire, England, holds an International World Championship Swim Meet every two years hosted by various countries. The group also compiles world records achieved by swimmers with Down syndrome in any FINA regulated swim meet in meters. Swimmers from nine different countries hold DSISO world records in various events. Jacob is the first swimmer from the United States to hold world records through the organization.


Remembering Coach Crocker
Jacob will remember Coach Crocker and his daughter Lindsey. When I, Jacob's Dad, was unsure about sending him to his first AU Kid's Swim Camp in 2000 it was suggested that I talk with Coach Crocker as he also was the father of a handicapped child. Ralph assured me that Jacob would be just fine at Swim Camp. My subsequent decision to send Jacob to Swim Camp has changed our lives. We will always remember Ralph and Lindsey in our prayers.

Mike H.


Jacob F. Halpin, Class of 2003
Gulf Shores High School, Gulf Shores, Alabama

High School Swimming:

4 high school varsity letters in swimming
All-State honors
All-County honors
Featured in Alabama High School Sports Magazine (AHSSM)
Received AHSSM Humanitarian Award
Co-Captain GSHS Swim Team in senior year
Participated in 4 High School State Championship Swim Meets
State Meet personal best finishes (402 school classification)
400 yd. freestyle relay - 7th
100 yd. butterfly - 30th
500 yd. freestyle - 26th

Selected for inclusion in:

24th Annual Edition of Who's Who in High School Sports
25th Annual Edition of Who's Who in High School Sports
2003 Who's Who Among American High School Students

USS Swimming:
1,650 yd. Freestyle - 2nd at 2002 USS Southeastern Regional, District South

State Games of Alabama (State Games of America):
100 yd. Butterfly - Alabama State Silver Medalist

Special Olympics Alabama State Swim Meet:

2002 - 3 Gold Medals
2003 - 3 Gold Medals
Instrumental in founding Snook Family YMCA Special Olympics Swim Team

Attended Auburn Tiger Swim Camp at Auburn University - 3 years
City of Gulf Shores USS swim team assistant coach

Down Syndrome International Swimming Organization (DSISO):

First swimmer from United States to hold DSISO world records
2005 1,500 meter freestyle world record
2005 800 meter freestyle world record

Click to Enlarge

SEATED: Auburn National Champion and Olympic swimmers.  STANDING: Mark Gangloff 2004 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist & Jacob


Click to Enlarge

PHOTO:  Left-right
Coach Ralph Crocker, Distance and Strength Training Coach, Cathy Sursi, former Auburn All-American (Jacob's favorite coach), Jacob, Head Coach Dave Marsh, 12 National Championships and twice US Olympic Asst. Coach.

Down Syndrome International Swimming Organization National Down
Syndrome Congress
Down Syndrome Parents Info
HS Athletics
Hall of Fame


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